Monday, January 16, 2006

Step #2: Howie

"In dis day and age, promising lights, road and water is banana republic issues. Not 20/20 issues."
- Howie -
(reflecting on the Government and their promises)
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I first met Howie when I went to buy bananas in Tunapuna Market on Saturday. I was struck by the way he spoke to me and each one of his customers: "How you going? You having a good day?" I told him I was an artist and asked if I could come back to talk with him for a project I am exploring. He said yes.
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I returned on Sunday with my camera, dictaphone and the question written on a piece of paper - curious to see how it would be interpreted out of context. When Howie read it, he exclaimed: "Eh!!" and chuckled, raising his eyebrows (as if to say 'heavy topic'). I explained to him that it's not about politics, not about the Prime Minister, but about each one of us ... (etc). He listened, nodding in agreement.
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What I thought would be a ten to fifteen minute chat ended up being two hours long (bits of which were recorded):
Read the transcription of the conversation with Howie
(Don't worry - the transcription itself isn't 2 hours long!)
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Clues I got from (and conclusions I made after) Step #2:
1. The question needs to be adjusted yet again. Because of its phrasing, people may be inclined to start discussing Government and politics (as being responsible for solving issues) and stray away from the focus on Self and what we can do as everyday individuals. In light of this, I asked Howie to rephrase the question. His suggestion: What would you do to get this country to move as one?
2. Each step does not have to be a person. It may be a place or thing.
3. Some steps will be small, some tentative, some large, some seemingly insignificant. The thing is to proceed anyway and don't doubt the process. It is leading somewhere valid.
4. Some key words: awareness, association, community.
5. A few other thoughts (which I won't list here) stimulated by Howie's conversation.
If you want to be notified of each step, just send me
an e-mail with your name and mailing address and I will add you to the project mailing list. I will continue to update the blog daily (but not necessarily with specific steps, as these will come in their own time).


Anonymous vee said...

I really enjoy the way you explore this question through interacting directly with people.
There is wisdom to be found in some corners to balance the ignorance that lies in others.

Hearing other voices gives me an impression of the range and differences that exist... it reminds me that I live in community as well as having my own individual perspective.

Looking forward to 'seeing' more of this journey - Thanks!



7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though I know its a serious discussion I had an enjoyable time reading. I am still smiling. Thanks. Where do you find these people? Most interesting.Looking forward to more.

10:22 AM  
Blogger tracy j said...

"Some steps will be small, some tentative, some large, some seemingly insignificant. The thing is to proceed anyway and don't doubt the process."

Truth Well Told

12:37 PM  
Anonymous theglasshermitage said...

Elspeth, you are opening the windows and I cannot get enough of the fresh air. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful... Great photos. Especially loved the one with Howie’s fingers on his chest. Enjoyed reading the transcription and I will be thinking about the clues and conclusions you derived from the material.
Anonymous asked, "Where do you find these people?" Anonymous, they are everywhere, often taken for granted or simply bypassed like camouflaged jewels, like beautiful donkey eye seeds scattered among the drifts on Manzanilla beach. Under the light of our respectful attention they will glow for us. Howie mentioned God’s light. We need to find this light in each other.
Howie’s rephrasing of the question couldn’t have been more on target:
What would you do to get this country to move as one? How do we balance the two needs - to focus on what is happening, as Joanne phrased it, in the “Nation of Me” without forgetting the Nation of We?


One by one, we make the village.
Village by village, we make this land.
We make the choice to bless or pillage,
One by one, to fall or stand.

There is no "They", there are no "Others"
When people fall, don't look away.
They are the sisters and the brothers
We did not help along the way.

Our children are not a private pleasure
If they are broken, we are all made poor.
They constitute the public treasure
We must all be keepers of that store.

One by one, we must discover
We all are One, in each one All.
We make the choice to crush or honour
One by one, to stand or fall.


12:46 PM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

Just a quick note: Glasshermitage I got your e-mail about 'Hope' and responded, but the message bounced back, saying that the address was invalid.

2:50 PM  

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